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Scots' Magners League spots threatened by Italians' bid

Magners League

Scottish teams Edinburgh and Glasgow could be kicked out of the Magners League by their Welsh and Irish counterparts, Scrum V understands.

The Celtic nations have fallen out over proposals for two Italian teams to enter the competition from next season.

A no-vote could prompt Irish and Welsh chiefs to discard the Scots.

But a Scottish Rugby Union spokesman denied any such threat has been made to their two teams, saying it was "completely without foundation".

The SRU spokesman said: "Scottish Rugby continues to have positive discussions with the Celtic unions in respect of potential Italian entry into the Magners League.

"Scottish Rugby remains positive about Italian entry in a managed and appropriate fashion to the Celtic League.


"We have recently held positive discussions with our Italian counterparts and we look forward to continuing discussions in respect of Italian entry.

"Any suggestion that Scottish Rugby has been threatened in respect of the participation of its two teams in the Magners League next season is completely without foundation.

"Constructive discussions between all three unions are on-going."

Talks were held on Friday between the Welsh, Irish and Scottish unions, with a board meeting of the Magners League scheduled for Monday.

Scrum V has been told that all four Welsh regions and all four Irish provinces want the Italians, but the Scots have been privately accused of dragging their heels.

If the Scots announce their agreement to admit the Italians the league will be expanded to 12 teams from next season.

But if the SRU blocks the move, Scrum V understands the Welsh and Irish are considering the possibility of removing Glasgow and Edinburgh from the competition.

An SRU spokesman added: "There are a number of issues that need to be clarified and one of the key issues that we seek clarification on is the governance and the administration of the Celtic League to ensure that any Italian entry is managed appropriately and enhances the tournament.

"As it stands just now, there's just the one individual who manages the Celtic League, [chief executive] David Jordan.

"With the Italians coming in, we feel we need to up our game and professionalise the set-up of the Celtic League and we need to get that agreed in advance and as soon as possible."

Should a consensus be reached, the two Italian clubs set to join the Magners League are Benetton Treviso and Viadana.

We, as rugby union people, want to grow the game

Ex-Wales hooker Garin Jenkins

The prospect of their admittance looked dead last month until both stumped up enough cash to allow negotiations to be resurrected.

Ex-Wales hooker Garin Jenkins hopes the SRU agree to the Italian's entry to the Magners League, believing the Celtic nations have a duty to help the sport expand.

Jenkins told Scrum V Radio: "We, as rugby union people, want to grow the game so I think it's a must.

"And I think Scotland's fears at the moment - if they could only see the bigger picture, that if it is open to a bigger audience, then the revenue's going to come into the game and undoubtedly help Scottish rugby eventually."

Should a consensus be reached, the two Italian clubs set to join the Magners League are Benetton Treviso and Viadana.

The prospect of their admittance looked dead in February, but they have since returned to the negotiating table with the promise of more finance to back their hopes.

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see also
Magners set to bring in play-offs
11 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
Two Italian teams to join Magners
26 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
New Celtic League format agreed
06 May 03 |  Rugby Union

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